History: June 2021 Archives

My Father's Day Story

That Time Wernher von Braun's Rocket Tried To Kill My Father

Keith's note: I thought Father's Day might be an appropriate time to repost this story.

"As best I can collate the facts, on 18 March 1945, a V-2 missile was launched from Statenkwartier in The Hague in occupied Netherlands at 9:25 am by Battery 485. It was one of the last V-2 launches before Germany lost the ability to use these weapons. As the rocket sped away from the surface it reached an altitude of over 50 miles - perhaps more - the edge of space. After a flight time of 5 minutes or so it fell from space with a vengeance and slammed into London at nearly 2,000 miles per hour. It hit near the Marble Arch Underground station - specifically at Hyde Park (near Speakers Corner) in Westminster. The blast created by the impact formed a crater 60 feet across and sent a supersonic shockwave outward. An instant later and several blocks away the shockwave picked my father up out of bed in his room above a pub and threw him through a set of glass doors. He had no warning that this was going to happen. No one ever did. While he was badly cut up, he was otherwise all right - physically. My father had been invited to go out for beers with his roommates - but he was broke - so he went to bed early instead. He never saw his roommates again. My father was 22 at the time."


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